Barroso hopes for EU climate funds deal next week

STOCKHOLM, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The head of the European Commission expressed hope on Thursday that European Union leaders will agree on funding for a global climate change deal at a summit next week, despite deadlock at talks.

EU finance ministers were unable this week to reach agreement on how much funding should be provided for poor countries as part of a deal to tackle climate change which world leaders hope to clinch in Copenhagen in December.

It is now up to EU heads of government to try to break the impasse at an Oct 29-30 summit.

"I hope we will be able to finalise this when we meet in the European Council next week in Brussels, in a firm proposal for Copenhagen," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a development aid conference in Stockholm.

Some EU diplomats are much less optimistic, saying EU leaders have huge obstacles to overcome.

Finance for developing countries is proving a sticking point in the run-up to the climate talks in December on finding a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations' main tool against climate change. It expires in 2012.

The European Commission suggested last month the 27-country bloc should provide up to 15 billion euros ($22.46 billion) a year by 2020.

To prove they are sincere in their efforts, rich nations should also provide 5 to 7 billion euros a year of "fast-track funding" in the three years before the Copenhagen deal takes effect, the Commission said.

But nine eastern EU countries, which are among the poorer EU member states, want those early funds for developing nations allocated on a voluntary basis, saying they do not want to pay a disproportionately high amount.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Nicholas Vinocur; editing by Janet McBride